DBS Spencer the Cripple Segment Violates Code of Ethics

swearsThe Dean Blundell Show on 102.1 The Edge / CFNY is in a little trouble. Here's the latest on their code violation.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council today released its decision concerning a segment entitled “Spencer the Cripple” on the Dean Blundell Show on CFNY-FM (102.1 The Edge, Toronto). A listener complained that the segment was offensive and degrading towards persons with disabilities. The CBSC found the broadcast in violation of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

The Dean Blundell Show is The Edge’s morning show, which features the news, weather, music, humorous banter among the three hosts, and, occasionally, in-studio guests. One recurring guest was Spencer Miller, a man with cerebral palsy who referred to himself as “Spencer the Cripple” and appeared on the program to speak frankly about life with a disability. The CBSC received a complaint about the January 5, 2009 segment. Blundell and his co-hosts asked Miller about his personal hygiene habits and stated that they did not believe Miller when he insisted that he is able to wipe himself after using the bathroom. They also discussed Miller’s sex life, suggesting that Miller is not an active participant in such acts and that his “assistant” has to lie him down first and wipe him off after. At one point, one of the hosts even imitated what he believed a disabled person would sound like while performing oral sex.

The CBSC Ontario Regional Panel examined the complaint under clauses of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code relating to abusive comment, stereotyping, stigmatization and victimization, and degradation, as well as the Human Rights Clause of the CAB Code of Ethics. The Panel concluded that the segment violated all of those clauses because the hosts

- unrelentingly made Miller the target of jokes and mockery. The routine based on the wheelchair-bound Miller’s ability to wipe himself was not merely in bad taste (that being an issue for the listener’s on-off switch), but it was also a form of victimization and stereotyping. One of the unnecessary and utterly inappropriate examples was host Blundell’s accusation: “I don’t think you can wipe your own bum. Admit it!” A cruel, harsh, finger-pointing differentiation for what is for most adults a basic (if generally undiscussed) activity. [...] All in all, the Panel finds that the hosts’ comments in the areas of personal hygiene and sexual performance inappropriately portrayed Spencer Miller, as a result of his disability, as helpless and incapable. It also finds that their comments in these areas were reproachful, insulting and condemnatory

- There were numerous examples of laughter and tonally inappropriate comments at Spencer Miller’s expense. In one example that the Panel found particularly shocking, Shapiro even made a mocking sound of a vocally-challenged person, which of course had no relevance whatsoever to Miller’s physical affliction, unless one were making the assumption that all persons with a disability could be put in the same container, as in “seen one, seen them all.”

The Panel also considered that some of the comments made during the discussion about Miller’s sexual activities were too explicit for the time of day at which they were broadcast. CFNY-FM, therefore, also violated Clause 9(b) (Radio Broadcasting) of the CAB Code of Ethics.

Does anyone know what happens when you violate Clause 9(b) (Radio Broadcasting) of the CAB Code of Ethics?


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Comments (35 - click here to join in!)

Andrew

Probably a BIG fat fine and a "sincere' on-air apology.

I don't think they can be taken off the air - unless the station suspends them for a time being.

I'm sure someone knows for sure.

Cheers

September 24, 2009 @ 6:02 PM

Tee

Did the panel get input from Spencer before reaching its decision?

September 24, 2009 @ 6:30 PM

Fredericton Steve

Wow. I hope that guy who complained doesn't have a satellite radio.

September 24, 2009 @ 7:16 PM

GC

I doubt there would be an on air apology. They've done done them before however it was recorded and was played like the day or week after, this incident happened so long ago that people probably didn't even know about it. I know I didn't until now.

September 24, 2009 @ 7:45 PM

Toronto Mike

Someone who didn't want to publicly comment just fed me this info...

"You have to run an apology promo about 50 times, and they may have to commit to supporting charities for the disabled with commercial airtime. Canadian broadcasters rarely pay monetary fines - in fact, I can't remember an instance."

September 24, 2009 @ 9:46 PM

Horonymous

The CBSB is a self regulating body so I'm guess all that will happen is a sternly worded memo. Wrist slappage. Please return to offending the easily offended DBS,

The CBSD is all bark and no bite. Run by the broadcasters to give folks the impression of a regulatory body.


From the CDSB FAQ

http://www.cbsc.ca/english/faqs/decisions.php#4

Q. What happens if the CBSC finds a Code violation?

A. If a CBSC Adjudicating Panel decides that the programming has violated one or more Code provisions, the broadcaster must announce that result on air. It must make the announcement twice, once within three days following the release of the decision in prime time for television or peak listening hours for radio, and again within seven days following the release of the decision in the time period in which the offending content was broadcast. It must also write a letter to the complainant(s) within 14 days thereafter indicating that the announcements have been made. The broadcaster then must provide the CBSC with a copy of that letter and with copies of the tapes containing the broadcast announcements.

It is also expected that a similar violation will not recur; that is, the broadcaster will not air similar material in the future. It is up to the broadcaster to determine the appropriate means to ensure that the offending type of broadcast does not recur.

September 24, 2009 @ 9:50 PM

Hector

Wow....all this because ONE guy complained.

September 25, 2009 @ 6:26 AM

Hector

On another note....did you notice that the Fan 590 has gone back to the original intro music for sports and traffic updates?

September 25, 2009 @ 7:30 AM

Mike from Lowville

Spence was a willing participant! Although it was in very bad taste. Spence is trying to get into radio. He used to do a sport reporting/discussion spot on Mohawk College radio. I guess you can say he's paying his due's.

September 25, 2009 @ 7:32 AM

Toronto Mike

@Hector

That Fan 590 intro music change was destined to fail. The new music was horrible. It was wise to change it back.

http://www.torontomike.com/2009/09/fan_590_2020_sport_update_intr_1.html

September 25, 2009 @ 8:11 AM

McNulty

Maybe it was in poor taste but that’s what you get when you listen to this show. I find Mad Dog and Billie in poor taste. Their bland sense of humour and crappy jokes offend me. Why can’t they apologize?

September 25, 2009 @ 9:48 AM

Oliver (a/k/a Dizzy)

I don't agree with this.

First off, if someone listened to Dean Blundell, then they'd know that the off colour humour is part of the act. He's trying to be Canada's Howard Stern, I think. He's failing.

Second, he really should have looked into it further. If Spencer was there on his own accord and took everything in stride, then everything's okay.

I hate censorship. If someone doesn't like what they hear on the radio, they can always change the station. Lord knows there's 20 of them in the GTA.

September 25, 2009 @ 10:16 AM

A.R.

You don't like it, you can change the station. But that's a pathetic and lazy response to something which you find offensive, it's better to confront the issue.

September 25, 2009 @ 10:49 AM

Chris

CFNY morning show= ass clowns

September 25, 2009 @ 11:30 AM

Chris

CFNY morning show= ass clowns

September 25, 2009 @ 11:32 AM

Wayner

They used each other...DBS for laughs & spencer for the fame. Can Spencer be forced to aopolgize for participating?

September 25, 2009 @ 1:55 PM

jason | GetYourOJ.com

Long overdue to sent Dean back to where he came from. I'd like to kick him in the nads.

September 25, 2009 @ 5:34 PM

GC

...crappy comments from jason and Chris. Obviously no here actually know what happened as a result of this, there was a prerecorded apology that was played this morning(Friday) during the breaks just like the last time something like this happened.

September 25, 2009 @ 7:51 PM

Paul

Wow. Can't believe a loser even complained. Easiest thing for people who don't like the content is not to listen. I have a physical disability and found nothing but humour in the bits with Spencer the Cripple. Guess the person lodging the complaint has little sense of self and thus took offense to the bit.

Too bad that the rest of us with at least half a mind have to suffer needlessly at the expense of those further trying to pussify the world.

September 27, 2009 @ 10:06 AM

Chris

re GC. My comment wasn't specific to this incident. I long ago stopped listening to CFNY's morning show. I doubt the three chimps could offend me. They aren't funny, they play crap music, and any amount of time that I listened to their "show" continues to be time I wish I had back or had instead spent the time clipping my nose hairs.

September 28, 2009 @ 11:50 AM

Mystery man

Thanks Paul. Chris and Jason, I feel sorry for you. Take good care of yourselves.

July 5, 2011 @ 6:10 PM

Truth

Spencer miller is nothing more than a pathological liar. He went around town telling women anything he could to get them into bed. he told girls he would take them to the grammys and also told one that he would have rachel mcadams play her in the story of his life! Spencer miller has no integrity! and the fact he uses his "handicap" to make jokes its sad!

February 21, 2012 @ 11:13 PM

More Truth

Spencer Miller is everything Truth said he is and more. He uses everyone. He doesn't pay his bills. He believes that the world owes him a living for his disability. When someone attempts to collect a debt from him, he runs to lawyers and tells them lies. He is slime. Everything that happened on the Dean Blundell Show was with his prior knowledge and approval. He ate it up. Then when he got canned, he turned on Dean and acted like he was a victim of Dean's humor. Spencer Miller's life revolves around a series of photo ops with famous people who he later calls his :"close personal friends". Truth is - he has no friends. He is a user and a loser. Stay away from him people - he will screw you every time. Even his own parents avoid him for this reason.

June 7, 2012 @ 9:03 AM

Even More Truth

http://www.mindviz.com/spencermiller More of Spencer Miller's lies. He doesn't make 250 cents. He lives off government handouts. No, he does not have a college degree He dropped out after one year. He is a pathological liar. I feel sorry for Dean for ever getting involved with this piece of crap.

June 7, 2012 @ 9:08 AM

OP of Truth

hey...I hear you! i saw spencer rolling around at jack astors feeding lines to girls all over the place! he told one he would take her to the grammys...

July 18, 2012 @ 8:00 PM

More truth

ONE friend likes Spencer Miller. Wonder why? Could it be that because he has ripped all the rest of them off? I was hired to ghostwrite his autobiography. For which I was robbed - not receiving a single penny American or Canadian - for the months of work I did. Spencer believes that because he is in a wheelchair, the world owes him. It doesn't. And about 90 percent of the people he claims to know were no more than photo ops. Those people don't know him. He is NOT an author. He is NOT an actor. He is nobody. Just a liar who manages to get his picture taken with famous people. Beware - do not do anything for him that involves money. He will screw you every time. He pays NOBODY for the work they do for him. Ask his former web manager how much money he got. 0

September 3, 2012 @ 1:24 AM

Truth Personified

Hey this guy is a kick ass douche! How do these people keep giving him a chance? is this one big pity party?? its amazing! this gy should be put in his place and notice that because he is in a wheel chair isnt evryone else fault! I bought his book in support and it was still missing pages! he is a con artist!

September 28, 2012 @ 9:54 AM

more crap on radio

hey seems the douche is trying to get a new radio station passed with the CRTC hopefully they know of his crap integrity! and wheel him out the door! I hope to see no more of this evil and morally corrupt person

February 25, 2013 @ 3:24 PM

Anonymous

Omg he has offered myself and someone else (female) I know all these different things and has come up empty handed. It's so awful that he tries to take advantage of people who are extra nice! Be should be ashamed!

April 9, 2013 @ 2:31 PM

Frodo

I had a similar experience with Spencer as "Anonymous". Empty promises and he managed to separate me from a couple of hundred bucks. And I am usually pretty savvy about getting ripped off - he was very smooth.

September 30, 2013 @ 11:40 AM


Another Anonymous Girl

It is SO great that everyone is sharing these experiences. He is in fact a pathological liar and con artist. Before you get involved with him, I hope you search his name & find this. In all honesty, I feel sorry for him more than I feel angry though. This all stems from insecurity. Spencer, if you see this, please just be yourself. It will work in your favour, I promise.

March 28, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

woah

What a douche... is he even relevant anymore??

July 9, 2014 @ 10:45 AM

Another Girl

Lied about all these surgeries he was having. Told me he needed help, his family was bad people so they wouldn't come help him. He lied about everything. No surgery, no family trouble, no help needed. Definitely took money. More pissed about the time I lost feeling sorry for him. Total user.

June 7, 2016 @ 12:48 AM

Jonathan Miller

I'm his father. Imagine the sheer horror of discovering this blog on Father's day, while I was searching to confirm his rumoured fame and fortune? I used to beg him, plead with him to get help, therapy to reign in his pathological lies and out of control narcissism. His is the saddest and most tragic of existence . . . broke, friendless, and devoid of support from any quarter. Even his owns brothers and half brothers want nothing to do with him but his mother deserves a medal for standing by him all these terrible years. To the many he has befriended and then betrayed, to those who believed he was a serious individual with amazing contacts, to anyone who actually hired him a s a speaker, and too the countless individuals he stole from and lied to . . . I have neither the means to right his wrongs nor the ability to turn back the clock . . . all I can say is 'sorry'.

June 18, 2017 @ 7:15 AM

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